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Cannabis Industry Trends To Watch For 2023

The cannabis industry continues to grow in 2023, with amazing potential for expansion to new markets and consumer bases. Discover some of the industry trends to watch for this year.

By Laura HenryPublished 7 months ago 5 min read
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Cannabis Industry Trends To Watch For 2023
Photo by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash

In the past decade, the cannabis industry has experienced sustained growth year over year, and 2023 is no different. Currently, cannabis is legal in more than half of the United States, with 38 states legalizing medical use and 21 legalizing recreational use. Ten states have measures to add adult legalization in the next three years, moving congressional support to over 67%. A rapidly growing legal consumer base and a boom in new cannabis products mean there’s a lot to anticipate for the second half of 2023.

Food and Drink Infusion

Edibles have always been part of cannabis culture, but how cannabis is used in food and drink is starting to expand beyond the traditional cookie, brownie, or gummy. Many people have taken an interest in cooking and baking with cannabis flower or oils, including multiple social media influencers hosting how-to videos on adding it to food and drink. Plus, new technology is emerging to allow for easy cannabis infusion at home using a machine that distills your choice of flower for use in baking, cooking, or drinks.

Another popular trend is adding cannabis to alcohol-free cocktails, creating a drink with the same relaxing and loosening feeling as alcohol but with fewer adverse effects. One survey found over 50% of cannabis users said they “replaced part of their alcohol consumption with cannabis.” That’s quite a change and could have profound disruptive ripples in the cannabis and alcohol industry.

New Cannabinoids Research

While THC and CBD have dominated as the most popular cannabinoids for years, multiple cannabinoid types have shades of both. Delta 8 and Delta 10 are some of the most recent examples, but new compounds like CBC, CBN, and THCA are becoming popular. Each of these cannabinoids is lab-created, combining specific elements of THC and CBD to create specialized products that meet niche needs.

These “boutique” cannabinoids are helping open up new consumer markets, targeting individuals who may not have tried cannabis for purely recreational use. Some of these new cannabinoid combinations are designed to relieve relaxation or stress, improve sleep, or ease pain and discomfort. Researchers are currently studying these unique cannabinoids to evaluate their effectiveness.

Pre Roll Joints and Blunts

Cannabis use is highest among young adults, and most of those young adults (ages 18-34) prefer pre rolls over other cannabis products. Pre roll joints and blunts remain the fastest-growing cannabis product, increasing market share by approximately 12% year-over-year. That kind of growth is quite healthy for any company, let alone one product type. The sustainability of the development is what makes it unique and something to watch.

There are many reasons why pre roll joint papers are so popular. One reason is their relative affordability compared to wholesale flower or other products. The cost of wholesale cannabis flower has fallen over the past few years, mostly due to increased legality, and rolling tech has improved, too. These two factors have helped bring down pre rolls costs. Another reason for their popularity is that pre rolls are convenient. They’re always smoke-ready and can easily fit in a pocket, purse, or bag for consumers to bring anywhere smoking is allowed.

Cannabis Tasting Sites

While pop-up beer gardens and wine-tasting rooms have been popular for years, cannabis tasting is just starting to become a more widely accepted experience. As with beer or wine, a tasting site would be a space for anyone from first-time to experienced cannabis users to try out products and learn more about their production and potential benefits. As more states make recreational cannabis use legal, there are more opportunities for growers and sellers to promote their products with tasting sites.

As with beer or wine, cannabis tasting can take many forms. Tasting sites could be one-time pop-up events, permanent spaces in retail shops, or stand-alone lounges. These spaces provide excellent advertising for growers and sellers and are a good place for interested consumers to test out products. Many in the cannabis industry see tasting sites as a vehicle to promote safe consumption and change some lingering perceptions about cannabis, shifting it to an elevated experience.

Environmentally Conscious Practices

More and more consumers are looking beyond a company's product to how they support and align with their values. Recent surveys show almost half of consumers say that how a brand is supporting their values is important to them. For cannabis consumers, one value that stands out is sustainable and environmentally conscious practices.

Cannabis growers and sellers recognize their consumers value environmental sustainability. Many in the industry are setting up measures to track and offset carbon emissions and support renewable energy. Those producing cannabis products are moving to use sustainably sourced materials like paper, metal, and glass. Some are even shifting to use compostable containers, offering in-house recycling for these materials.

Product Consistency and Safety

As cannabis production has boomed, there has been some backlash around consistency and safety. A once largely illegal substance, there are some who think there should be more regulation of how cannabis is grown, harvested, and processed. Some in the industry are responding to these concerns by working towards implementing standardized lab procedures and testing.

Though regulation may tamper with some of the innovations in the cannabis industry, it may also make more states willing to legalize recreational use. Standardized testing can help ensure any cannabis legally sold in the U.S. is free from heavy metals and pesticides, increasing consumer confidence in the industry at large.

Continued Growth and Innovation

The cannabis industry is showing no signs of slowing and has ample opportunity for expansion. As more states and countries legalize use, more product types and uses will emerge. The possibilities are seemingly endless. As we look forward to 2024, there is hope for more research to legitimize what many cannabis consumers already know: cannabis is a versatile herb full of potential.

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About the Creator

Laura Henry

Laura Henry is a writer and editor with a passion for alternative health products and practices. When they're not outside with their rescue dog, they spend their time exploring local wellness/new age spaces and practicing yoga.

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